Jul 29, 2022

Teen Scene

By Lori Draz and Isabella Scanapicco

Each month our young authors write, in their own voice, stories that will educate and inform fellow students and parents. If you are a teen who would like to write your story, contact The Journal. We’ll help you polish it up, so don’t worry. Let’s just get to sharing.

This month’s author is 17-year-old Isabella Scanapicco, a senior at Trinity Hall and an avid golfer. As students head back to school, they are both excited over what the new year will bring and concerned over all the stresses and pressures ahead. Being able to get lost in an activity you love can really help balance things out. Finding a place where you can shut off the distractions, challenge yourself and relax is important. For Isabella, that place is on the manicured lawns of the area’s golf courses. Not only is she mastering a sport, but she is also giving her mind a break, making new friends and focusing on something that makes her feel like her true self. Here is Isabella’s story.

Practically the last nine years of my life have been spent on dozens of beautifully well-kept golf courses. The course and the game allow me to disconnect from all the outside distractions, and playing this game has made me realize what GOLF really stands for: a Game Of Lifelong Friends.

Game: How do you describe a game that has been there for you for your whole life? Golf is an adventure. One day it’s like climbing the mountain of success, the next it’s like falling off that mountain with tears in my eyes. It’s like life – there are good days and bad days. The game has brought me to some of the most picture-perfect places in New Jersey and on the Eastern Seaboard. It provides me with new mental mechanics that build confidence and competence. As you approach the tee, you wonder, “Is my shot going to go straight or will it hook?” I often stand in front of the ball and reference the controlled rules of games, but if I overthink it, my mechanics fail, and my ball hooks off to the bulky trees. Golf teaches me to trust myself. Golf is also therapeutic. When I’m golfing, I stop thinking about the endless amounts of homework awaiting me as soon as I walk through the door. In that moment, finding the white ball I hooked is the only problem on my mind. 

Of: Effortless – that’s a perfect way to describe how I feel on the golf course. I’m focused on the broad views of the beautiful trees, the budding flowers sprouting in morning dew. I listen to sound of deer munching on the finest greenery. I feel the breeze brush up against my skin and the warm blanketing of the sun. My senses feel completely connected in the golf game. It brings me comfort like little else can. Golf allows me to go outside my box and tackle new experiences. Standing on the fairway, I embrace the small things around me. On the course, my laughter flutters through the air. I speak my mind without a care in the world because golf is my safe place. I can wear my bright pink skirt and neon green shirt; it doesn’t matter.  

Lifelong: I have never been a big contact sport gal. I prefer golf. My “hole-in-one” sport has brought me new connections that will last a lifetime. I have been around the best of the best at a professionals’ tournament. I have learned the ins and outs of being the best player from Gloria Ehret. Those experiences have made me want to strive for success in the game I love and in life as well.  

Friends: Nine years ago, from my first day on the tee box to now, playing in amateur tour events, golf has always been full of plenty of friendly faces to share a smile during grueling, seven-hour rounds. Golf brought me to my best friend of four years. 

Even the kids I played golf with in the First of the Jersey Shores program are still in my life today, and we continue to support one another. Starting my golfing experience in this program taught me my core values of respect, leadership and, most importantly, sportsmanship. I highly recommend this organization to anyone who wants to get into the game. I have learned to love the game through my coaches within the program.

This sport has fully shaped me into the person I am today and formed the mindset I bring to everything. I will continue to live by the motto, “Game Of Lifelong Friends.” I would truly recommend everyone try their hand at golf, but I realize that golf may not be for everyone. Still, search for your center – the place where you become fully engaged and transported by your activity. Maybe you like to dance. Maybe you like to garden. Maybe you are fully engaged in the library, working on a computer or robotics project or working in the arts, like painting, photography or filmmaking. Those places are where you challenge yourself, appreciate the accomplishments of others and make lifelong friends, as I have on the golf course.